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The West Virginia Manufacturers Association hosted its first Annual Winter Convention last week bringing together industry leaders, state officials, and Governor Elect Jim Justice for a meeting to discuss the improvement of industry competitiveness.

As part of the Convention, the group unveiled A New Blueprint – Making the American South’s Manufacturing Sector More Competitive by 2030. The report, researched and written by Ted Abernathy of Economic Leadership LLC, provides an at-a-glance look of the position of southern states in competing for new manufacturing investment. Abernathy provided a Blueprint presentation with West Virginia specific opportunities and challenges. 

The full Blueprint Report provides a scorecard of sorts with which to measure the future growth and a refocused economic strategy to assist southern U.S. states in developing policies to raise the regional profile for manufacturing firm site selectors and investors.

As reported in the Gazette-Mail on December 4, the Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) led an effort about 20 years ago to prevent construction of a $1 billion dollar pulp mill to West Virginia.

The pulp plant had not committed to using union labor for construction, and the ACT developed and funded a campaign to have the state deny the facility a wastewater discharge permit.

While the permit was finally approved after lengthy appeals, the pulp mill was never built in Apple Grove. Ultimately, the pulp mill didn’t get built anywhere, as financial markets changed after repeated delays.

During this election cycle, we heard from pundits, candidates, and our neighbors that Washington, D.C., is not getting enough done.

While it’s not yet clear what the election results mean to our state or Washington, a little-known federal transportation agency is already taking action on freight-rail issues that will mean a lot to the more than 48,000 men and women who work in West Virginia’s manufacturing sector.

These improvements to freight rail policy are important to our state because West Virginia manufacturers and energy producers send and receive more than 106 million tons of products a year by rail, according to the most recent data available from the Association of American Railroads.

U.S. Rep. McKinley Accepts National Award for Legislative Excellence
Washington, D.C. – In celebration of National Manufacturing Day, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) joined Eagle Manufacturing Company and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association (WVMA) for a day of special recognition and education activities at Eagle’s Wellsburg, W.Va. headquarters.
Today, NAM presented U.S. Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) with the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence during a special ceremony.
Also, Eagle engineers and representatives from the WVMA Educational Fund’s “Explore the New Manufacturing” initiative talked with STEM students from Brooke High School about manufacturing and participated in 3D printing activities.
Nearly 100 people attended the event including local elected officials, business and community leaders, and other members of the public.